Little Update

Thank you so much for your concern and your help over the past year.

WE ARE GRATEFUL!

I have never been very good at writing updates. With so much to do, it can be a little difficult to take the time to look back. It’s a good process though because when we finally do take the time to think back we can see how much God has done in our lives and that causes us to be thankful and even more excited about how good He’s going to be to us in the future!

FAMILY LIFE

First of all, I am just amazed by my wife. I am sure God knew I needed a lot of help so he gave me the best one! If you followed Marda around as she takes care of the home, homeschools the children, feeds all the visitors that are coming through our house, and helps develop the mercy ministry I am confident you would be pretty sure I needed a lot of help and that God was very gracious to me in giving me Marda as well!

Our daughter McKenna is a joy. She just turned ten, so she’s proud to say she’s a tweenager. If you hadn’t heard of that, don’t worry, I hadn’t either. She’s busy learning the guitar and has such a sweet voice. We love listening to her sing with her sister Cambria.

Cambria is a pretty wonderful little eight year old if I do say so myself. She’s not so little anymore however. Pretty soon she’s going to be as tall as her mommy. She’s really a servant as well. Marda always tells me Cambria could run the house if she were gone!

Caitlyn could brighten your day in an instant with her smile and her ability to talk. She bubbles over with happiness and joy. Whenever I go on walks with Caitlyn I come back happy and my ears come back tired because she’s non-stop, let me tell you that. We’ve also been happy to watch her to develop a great friendship with her Grandma. She’s often asking us, can I go over to Grandma’s house and when she does, we have to go over there and drag her back!

Our little man Muzi has grown quite a bit. It took a while however. The first few months he didn’t even gain a single gram. But with time, things are changing. He’s even starting to talk! He began school a couple of months ago and his teachers were amazed. They looked his brain-scan, looked at Muzi and told Marda that he was basically a miracle. He shouldn’t be able to do the things he is doing, but with God’s help, he’s really moving forward.

Zanelle is a sweetie-pie. She’s best buddies with Caitlyn. They are constantly playing games. She’s also Mommy’s helper. Whenever something needs to be done around the house, Zanelle is there to help out with a smile.

I’ll tell you what, Bayley is becoming a chatterbox. With all these daughters, pretty soon Sundays will be my only time to talk. While she’s the youngest daughter, don’t tell her because she doesn’t seem to know it. Right now, she’s pretty sure she’s the boss of the home and she expects her sisters to recognize it.

We are pretty amazed by Lincoln. We call him our always content baby. He does cry, but not often. He’s just happy to be loved.

MERCY MINISTRY

As many of you know, we’ve recently been involved in beginning 1Hope4Africa. We are really thankful that God is bringing together a team of people who are excited about making sacrifices to serve others who are in need. We were even able to add our first staff member this year, Emmanuel who is from the D.R.C.!

While 1Hope is involved in many different things, at the end of the day 1Hope is about helping the church come alongside and develop a relationship with those who are in very vulnerable and difficult situations in order to help them achieve God’s best for their lives.

For example, we are currently assisting orphans in a variety of ways. We have brought orphans into our home and are praying that other families in the area would do the same. We are looking to find other homes where “houseparents” can come and care for 6-8 orphans. We also have spent time reaching out to a group of orphans in a nearby township over the past year. We have run a Bible Club with these children and quite often we bring food, provide school supplies, clothing, warm blankets and other gifts for the orphans we see there. Please pray because most while these children need food, clothing and shelter they more urgently need a godly family, Christian parents, and to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

A major part of 1Hope’s ministry is to refugees. We have come in contact with many, many refugees that reside here in the city of Pretoria. We are seeking to provide food packs for many of them on a monthly basis and also to meet other needs as they arise such as clothing, job opportunities, accommodation etc. Many are in our home over the weekend for Bible Study, and for a wonderful time of fellowship and food after Sunday Church. If you are interested in finding out more information about this, please check out our web-site http://www.1hope4africa.com! You’ll read some stories there about some of our friends that I think will encourage you and give you more information with which you can go to God in prayer.

CHURCH PLANTING

We have recently been sent out by our church to help begin another church in the heart of the city. This is my bread and butter. I LOVE THIS. I’ll never understand how those who are interested in truth are not interested in showing mercy because the truth of the gospel leads us to mercy, but you know what, at the same time I’ll never understand how those are interested are not interested in truth because man, TRUTH IS THE ULTIMATE MERCY.

We are happy to have begun meeting with the core team in September and we have been amazed once again by God’s goodness and by what He’s accomplished already. I keep saying to people, the one thing I know how to do is fail, if anything else happens, it is God and we are seeing God work right in front of us. We have core team of eager God-centered servants, several other godly leaders who are involved, a great team of musicians, and two African interns from Angola and the D.R.C. who are currently staying with us and studying at Christ’s Seminary.

I thought it might help you get a picture of what we are after if I just gave you a quick summary of what we are praying God will do through Living Hope.

Vision

To glorify God by growing a biblical inner city church where believers know, proclaim and live in a manner worthy of the gospel, where the gospel brings people together not only in position but also in practice, where leaders are trained and sent out to strengthen churches throughout Africa and where believers are sacrificially reaching out to the lost with the love of Christ and the message of truth.

Purpose

To grow a church that will function as a model of what a vibrant biblical African church looks like and to ignite a church planting/strengthening movement that fills the city of Pretoria with the gospel of Christ in such a way that people of the city are changed in every dimension, spiritually, socially, and culturally. Our object is to turn the city upside down, that where sin once abounded grace might abound still more.

Mission

To establish a multi-cultural city church with both a church planting center and mercy ministry outreach.

Specific Focus

3rd world in focus, 1st and 3rd world in scope. Focusing on the vulnerable accomplishes several objectives at once:

– It demonstrates one of the ways the gospel transforms a person’s entire worldview.

– It reaches out to those who often are not reached to and it is a way of discipling and evangelizing those who are.

For one, it effectively exposes a number of the idols that those in comfortable positions often unknowingly worship.

Second, it provides a tangible demonstration of the difference the gospel makes in people’s lives.

– It also provides a unique opportunity to reach the rest of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Many of those who come to stay in downtown Pretoria are from other places in South Africa and even Africa. (We already have people from Angola, D.R.C., Zimbabwe and even Burundi who fellowship with us. Not to mention South Africa, Germany and America as well!) If we can reach out to them, support them, train them and give them a biblical model of what the Christian life is and what the church is, that will not only affect them – it will also affect hundreds of other people in their communities in their villages and home countries.

TRAINING

I have the privilege of being involved in Grace School of Ministry which trains men from all over Africa in biblical counseling. This has been a real joy for us as we’ve seen God take what these men are learning and using it to help them impact people in deep and profound ways. I also have had the opportunity to teach at various conferences and family camps and orphanages over the past year.

But I do have to say that what I have enjoyed the most is having three interns stay with our family over the past year for discipleship. Steve is from the United States, Django is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Oliviera is from Angola. God has used these men to draw me closer to Himself and we as a family have seen such tremendous growth in them. We are excited to see how God is going to use them in the future as all three are looking to serve Him with their lives in the years to come!

If you have made it this far in the newsletter, THANKS! CONGRATULATIONS! That was a lot of words, I know but it’s just a beginning when it comes to what we have to be thankful about. WE SERVE A GREAT GOD AND WE LONG TO SEE HIM GLORIFIED! Will you pray with us about that?

We’d love to hear from you – just send us an e-mail and don’t forget to check out our various web-sites for more regular updates.

http://www.joshnmarda.wordpress.com
http://www.1hope4africa.com
http://www.livinghopechurch.co.za

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